Oryoki's House

Where's the Mojitos? I have the guac!

Oryoki Bowl

Oryoki Bowl
February 03
Quaker buddhist, kinda quirky, loves cooking and knitting and movies. Dr Who fan, Scandinavian-aquarian and cat lover. Would love to be paid to travel around the world and write about local healing cultures. While eating and drinking and dancing. One day I will have a health cruise in the fjords.


JULY 24, 2011 3:18PM

Light on a Rainy Day in Scandinavia

Rate: 19 Flag
norwegian embassy
(Photo from my cousin's Facebook page, today, presumably at the Norwegian Consulate in Copenhagen)
The rain isn't abnormal, but it certainly matches the tone of grief.  Rainy days in Denmark do not keep people indoors, just as darkness does not keep them from venturing outside.  Otherwise, no one would ever leave home, as one can expect some rain to fall most days, most of the year.  In the deep of winter, called Mørket (The Darkness), light filters through overcast skies from maybe  930 to 1530, and Denmark is very south.  
The Danes and other Scandinavian countries have developed their sense of community on several principles.  All must live in this weather, this climate, this geography.  And in order to survive, as a person, family and community, one must embrace kinship despite personal and political differences.  Hyggelig is an expression to describe the sense of warm feeling, coziness and kinship.  It is maintained with frequent coffee and pastries, snaps or beer, long parties in the garden at summer and long dinners in winter.  
Always, there are lights.  
The light of Norway will not be extinguished, even though the flames of a few passionate and vibrant youth have been put out this weekend.  The light of kinship of the Scandinavian community will not be blown away, it cannot be.  Hardly 70 years ago, they lived through the occupation of the Nazis, and stood in solidarity with the principles of peace, and freedom.  My own grandfather did his part in assisting the underground network that helped almost all the Jews of Denmark escape to neutral Sweden.  Peaceful resistance in occupation led to fewer deaths, and did not lead to victory for the Nazis.  Denmark, Sweden and Norway still bear the scars of occupation.
Today my mother expressed her sorrow and regret, as she and all of Denmark too must grieve their Norwegian cousins.  They live in a fairy tale world.  It is true, this wonderful existence where people trust and share.  It is not blind trust, but formed through avid discussion, engagement and education about oppression and the true meaning of democracy, freedom, equality, openness.  These will not disappear.  The problem to solve is how to bring more people to awareness and away from the violent solution.
This year brings for me the birth of three sons- two cousins, born to two of my cousins, sisters, a week apart.  And one nephew, to my brother and his wife.  A remarkable year for our family, and perhaps the last year any more of us will be born for a long time.  These three young men, all Scandinavian descent, two in Europe and one in San Francisco, will all be born to face a world none of us can yet see coming.  Each young man will have to wonder where his ideals and identity belong, the path to take on his education, politics and philosophy.  Each will have to go through the moments of darkness all young men must face, again and again, as they choose towards life and light and community- or towards death and destruction and desolation.  Surely, none of them would ever fathom committing any such horror?  If they are anything like their parents, they will all be tree hugging, eco conscious, non violent, politically engaged and spiritually balanced and aware.  For that, I am supremely grateful, and resoundingly hopeful.  
Right now, they are little, tiny boys, infants, who are not yet the men they are going to be.  I hope for them that when they are grown, they have a seat at the table for progress and development.  I think of my own family, scattered across the globe, all born after the end of the occupation, and with no memory of the fear their parents and grandparents endured in those dark years.  I will do my part to steer them towards a path of freedom and peace, knowing they must understand their own destiny for themselves.  

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
Your words resonated with me in a profound way.
I have a 7 month old grand niece and I cannot imagine her
thriving in the world that we see now. Hope for a brighter, lighter future is all I tell myself has to be.
rated with love
Thank you, Poetess. I spoke to my niece on Friday, and she is two and a half, just barely. She has been talking a blue streak for most of the last nine months, and already getting her letters and recognizing words. I asked how she liked her new book I sent. A is for Antelope. Amazing. I asked how she was doing, she said, I have a new baby brother. About 6 times, she is so excited. I realize how much I need to put my love and time and resources into the children who are already here, my family and my friend's children.
The words "mass murder and Norway" in the same headline..surreal. I kept looking for other news outlets to make sure it was really true. An epic tradgedy. Thanks for the Scandinavian perspective.
Bluestocking- just before I left, in 1999, there were a series of riots in the city. It had to do with immigration, citizenship status, race, and justice. I experienced a little of this when I was in Spain, in 1992, indirectly. Nazism and fascism are still alive and well in Europe, and I personally heard things from well educated white people that made me cringe. Their presumption was that my outward appearance made it okay to say the terrible things. I also have witnessed incredible racism from people of color. When all the problems went down in Denmark with publishing of the cartoons, I decided to stop going to my favorite middle eastern restaurant for lunch for some time (I had danish flags on my car). Mostly out of respect for my hosts, as they relied on the patronage of many immigrant students for their income, they are by a the big university. The kindest people in the world are just that- kind. They have no skin color, no eye color, no hair color, no religion- they have only the open heart of humanity.
Well said, OB. Yes, to hope for a better world for all our children, a path of freedom and peace.
This was a truly horrible thing, especally those poor children killed at the youth camp. I was surprised that there wasn't more coverage and/or outrage in our own media and here on OS. I have seen very little written about it and was glad to see this exellent article.
Thank you Torrito, for your support.

Trilogy- yesterday we went to a pool party at my friend's. She and I are both childless, not particularly by choice, but life circumstance. I have two step children, my boyfriend's kids. She had her nephew visiting, he is 6. About half of us there (including her parents) are Norwegian or scandinavian, with roots in the Dakotas and WI. Their parents and grandparents coming over for a better life, it has not always been so wonderful in Europe. As I played with her nephew, and thought of my own niece and nephew, and our friend's about to be born daughter hanging out in the belly, and my step daughter playing with the nephew, and... these are my children too, even if I am not their mother. We celebrate our kinship through blood and culture, friendship and family.

Torman- Scandinavian children grow up in groups, and have an amazing sense of self development and community I have never seen anywhere else. We joke that they are born with a watch, and a bicycle (or bus pass) because they are used to fearless existence and adults committed to their care. The murderer knew all those things, and abused that, for his own selfish end.
Always, there are lights.
oh yes.
on that u can count.
just as u can count on the darkness rising up to
try to extinguish them.
Always, there are lights.
oh yes.
on that u can count.
just as u can count on the darkness rising up to
try to extinguish them.
This is just an excellent and calming piece - and full of hope in a dark time. So much insanity and brutal behavior seems to dominate everything at times and I lose sight of my own optimism. I find this reassuring and I believe that the inherent good in mankind will assert itself in many places throughout the world.

Thanks for posting this today.
I hesitate to wonder about this man's youth. This must be taught behavior, and I find it hard to believe any parent could possibly teach a child to hate like this. He has a Manifesto, and had it planned out. He is not mad, this is a statement and I hope there are no more of him around.
Scanner- the wingnut mind of the super conservative individual is something that cannot be taught so much as entrained. Some people certainly tend more that way than others. What we can see, from other terrorists- and the reason why Nazism and other fascism was so darn popular 80 - and similar in other parts of the world: young men, with little or no economic outlook, not working and having no common identity to bond. These groups give that to them. When one is a down and out social loser, chance are good one will turn to a group that encourages radical and exclusionary beliefs. We see this again and again, in all societies, and all races. The concept of ethnic cleansing is an almost constant and universal theme, sadly, and a relic of patriarchy and capitalism (the rationale for exploiting "lesser" people, if not by race, then by class). His propensity for violence is no more than American youth. His capacity to get away with so much damage speaks more to the reality that the Norwegians are not generally armed or expecting this much violence. Jarod Loughner would have killed more people if there had not been armed citizens who not only wounded him, but were willing to tackle him in face of death. One cannot ask that of children.
I appreciated this perspective Oroyoki. The birth of three new family members is a blessing and gives hope in a time of unimaginable tragedy and grief. With your consciouness, the opportunity to participate in their lives as an aunt will bring many rewards for all concerned.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Oryoki Bowl. "And in order to survive, as a person, family and community, one must embrace kinship despite personal and political differences." Beautifully said. Those three newborn boys are so fortunate to have you in their lives.
Scarlett- I hope. I am also a godmother, and an aunt to a niece, and another friend is expecting soon. I realize how important it is to be the positive adult in the lives of all the children I know. I remember how much I was impacted by the various adults in my parents' life, even sometimes for only a brief meeting. One has to model behavior for all children- not just their own.

Clayball- thanks. I hope I have a long life of friendship with them.
This morning at church, during the "prayers of the people," not a word was spoken about this tragedy. That lack of corporate awareness saddened me immensely as I silently mourned for the lost children, teens and adults gunned down (and bombed) in this carefully crafted massacre. Your essay was the prayer I was seeking. You have a wonderful gift of being able to weave the political and the personal into a comforting and hopeful tapestry. R
I worry too at what awaits our children and our children's children. I find I have no words to add to what others have said already.
A beautifully written, reflective piece, OB.

May the light of loving and caring hearts such as yours reassure and guide those three little boys through whatever dark paths they may cross in their futures.
I admire your thinking, perspective and delivery. May the three new lives in your family bring joy and continue the longevity of your roots.
Yes understanding ones destiny is a tough call sometimes.
While reading this post, I kept lamenting the appearance of horrors in the fairytale world you so beautifully described. There's something terrible about the loss of innocence...

Thanks for writing this!
A wonderful little piece--brimming with light. I'm not really a person of such light myself, but I see many reasons to hope for better things. In the U. S., we've elected an African-American president, made great progress on gay rights, and established many of the elements of a multi-cultural society. And all of this has been accomplished against determined opposition. But the difficulties shouldn't be surprising. The U. S. was founded as a frontier and slave society and has been an incubator of fundamentalism since the 1740's. Backlashes against progress like the segregation South and McCarthyism have been powerful and long-running and we're going through another big wave of reaction right now. But just as progress and decency have been hard fought, they've been well-earned and those of us who are committed to progress have a rich legacy to draw on as we fight off reaction and search out new ways to move forward.
You express this so well, OB. I am not of Scandinavian heritage, but I know that the culture there is too strong and determined to be brought down by this. I know that the sentiment you express will prevail, but in the meantime it is agonizing. So many people around the world are with the people of Norway now.
The headlines were so unbelievable - it is a fairy wonderland -- and to think of such violence invading this peaceful kingdom is shocking. From the speeches by those in charge and from what I've read in commentary from the people, I can tell that as a nation they will move on with forgiveness, courage and hope.